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The History of Us
In the fall of 2003 a small group organized as the Aguilar Historic Preservation Committee developed a plan for preserving the history of the Town of Aguilar, Colorado and the Apishapa Valley area. The committee applied for non-profit status as the Apishapa Valley Historical Society (AVHS) in 2004. The boundary to the east includes the Foster Hotel & Stagecoach stop along the Apishapa River which was operating as early as 1886. In 2015 this site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Longtime member, William Tilley, worked many years to accomplish this designation. The western boundary includes the valleys west of Aguilar and CR 43.7 designated as part of the Scenic Highway of Legends (from I-25 through Cordova Pass to Highway 12).
Our first project was the successful nomination of the First State Bank of Aguilar (the Louis Gianella Building) to Colorado's Most Endangered Places List for 2004. This list is produced annually by Colorado Preservation Inc. in an effort to bring attention and resources to Colorado's threatened historic structures and sites. In 2005 a structural assessment was completed with a SHF grant and the bank was listed on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. In 2020, a new owner has begun the restoration of this historic building.
In 2006 the Town of Aguilar passed a resolution setting up The Aguilar Preservation Advisory Board for the designation of Historic Properties in the Town of Aguilar.
The State Historical Fund awarded a Cultural Resource Survey grant to the Town of Aguilar which was completed in 2008. This survey identified and documented cultural resources which might become a baseline for future preservation efforts. With the completion of this survey, the Town of Aguilar approved the Aguilar Gymnasium (a WPA project), the Antonio Lo Presto Building (built as the Arcade Hotel & Saloon in 1909), the Aguilar Community Church (completed in 1906), and the A.I. Lindsey Building be added to the Town of Aguilar list of Historic Properties. The A.I Lindsey Building housed our collection of historic photos, & documents that we have collected for many years until 2020 when we moved the Apishapa Valley Heritage Center to 132 E. Main St. New owners have allowed us to move into this historic site which has an attached blacksmith shop and a courtyard. We are scheduled to be open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend and rely on volunteers to stay open Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 10:00 to 2:00 pm. Reservations are encouraged for large families or groups.
Monthly meetings are posted the second week of each month. We have been meeting at the Aguilar Community Center October thru May. In summer we meet at the Apishipa Heritage Center, 132 E. Main St. In the month of February 2024 we will begin meeting on the second Saturday, 11:00 AM at the Aguilar Mercantile Store across the street from the Heritage Center. You don't have to be a member to attend. We welcome new ideas and new members!